Beaufort News

County 911 dispatcher charged with assault in road-rage incident

David Gaze
David Gaze

An angry Bluffton man followed another motorist for about 15 miles Tuesday afternoon before getting out of his vehicle at a stoplight and threatening the driver with a baton, according to a Bluffton Police Department news release.

David Lee Gaze, 52, a Beaufort County 911 dispatcher in training, was arrested and charged with two counts of third-degree assault and battery and one count of public disorderly conduct, according to the release.

The victim wasn't injured, according to Bluffton Police Capt. Bryan Norberg.

The incident began just after 5:30 p.m. when Gaze became "furious" at the motorist, who was driving in front of him and talking on a cell phone. Gaze followed the driver from the Broad River Bridge to U.S. 278 and Buckwalter Parkway, where both vehicles stopped at a red light, the release said.

Gaze, carrying an extendable baton in his right hand, got out of his vehicle and began yelling profanities at the other driver, the release said. He then tapped the side of the driver's face with the baton, the release said.

Gaze returned to his vehicle and tried to leave the intersection.

In an attempt to stop him, the motorist stood in front of Gaze's vehicle. Gaze then allowed his vehicle to roll toward the man, bumping him with the car in an apparent attempt to move him out of the way.

Bluffton police arrived about 5:50 p.m. after a passing motorist called 911, according to the release.

Following his arrest Tuesday, Gaze was released from the Beaufort County Detention Center Wednesday on his own recognizance, according to the jail log.

Gaze, who was hired as a dispatcher by the county communications department March 28, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave until Bluffton Police and Beaufort County officials complete their investigations, according to county spokeswoman Suzanne Larson.

Follow reporter Cassie Foss at twitter.com/LcBlotter.

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